Friday, May 7, 2010

Malaysia hold mighty Korea

THE National players held Asian champions South Korea to a 1-1 draw in a pulsating match in the 19th Edition of the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
And the fact that they came back from a goal down, and then held onto the equaliser tightly, signaled better times for them in the Commonwealth and Asian Games this year.
Malaysia started impressively and played long balls to trouble the
Koreans, and there were plenty of anxious moments in the opening
minutes itself to send the 5,000-odd crowd at the Azlan Shah Stadium into
a singing frenzy.
And a clever combination of Faizal Saari and Sukri Mutalib won the first
penalty corner in the 12th minute, but Amin Rahim's flick was palmed away by goalkeeper Lee Myung Ho.
South Korea finally got their act together in the 14th minute, and off a
free hit from the 25-yard line, the ball found Oh Dae Keun's hockey stick
and beat goalkeeper S. Kumar.
But after taking the lead, Korea sat back and almost looked like they
enjoyed watching Malaysia enter their semi-circle with ease.
Faizal was presented with a golden opportunity to equalise in the 22nd
minute, but his shot was parried away by the alert goalkeeper Lee.
Korea won two consecutive penalty corners in the 31st minute, but
goalkeeper Kumar brought off diving saves.
However, a poor tackle from Madzli Ikmar gave Korea their third penalty
corner in the 34th minute, but Kumar again stood his ground and Malaysia entered the dressing room to plan for the next 35 minutes.
Korea got another chance to increase the lead in the 42nd minute, but yet again, Kumar stopped a grounder penalty corner attempt, and Malaysia lived to salvage this game.
And they received a golden opportunity when Izwan Firdaus was bloked from taking a shot at goal, and the umpire awarded a penalty corner.
Amin Rahim's low push in the 50th minute was stopped by the goalkeeper Lee, but the ball bounced towards pusher Azlan Misron and the Perak-born player slotted in the equaliser.
But after scoring the goal, Malaysia started defending and the Koreans came close to snatching the lead again, as they had the numbers when Shahrun Nabil was sent out for two minutes after receiving a green card.
However, Malaysia held onto the goal, and shared points in the second consecutive match.
Kumar was awarded man-of-the-match from pulling off many dangerous attempts which gave Malaysia their second point of the tournament.

India 4 Pakistan 2

INDIA got off to a good start when Sardar Singh scored a penalty corner rebound in the 26th minute.
However, the match was void of excitement in the first half, as both sides took a cautious approach.
The second half became more interesting after Pakistan scored the equaliser off a penalty stroke in the 37th minute, which was taken by Muhammad Imran.
India went on the attack immediately, and a deft touch from Mandip Antil in the 47th minute, gave them the lead again.
And in the 53rd minute, Gurbaj Singh made it 3-1 for India with a diving reverse stick shot which sounded the board. And the fourth goal came easy with Tushar Khandker beating goalkeeper Imran Shah from close range in the 56th minute.
Kashif Ali pulled one back for Pakistan with a penalty corner flick in the 66th minute.

Slow start for Aussies


Australia 4
Egypt 0

AUSTRALIA played a game of two halves before beating a stubborn Egypt
4-0 in the 19th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
The first half saw Australia struggle with a 1-0 lead, but after the rain-
interrupted 50 minutes rest, the world champions scored three more goals in the second half.
Grant Schubert (18th), Christopher Ciriello (49th), Matt Ghodes (59th) and Kieran Govers (64th) were on target for Australia, who played their first game in Ipoh.
"To a certain extent, the fact that we played South Korea yesterday
(Thursday) and then Australia today (yesterday) gave us a disadvantage as Australia were fresh in their first match of the tournament," said Egypt
coach Mathias (one name bloke).
Australian assistant coach Graham Reid paid tribute to the Egyptions:
"Four of my players made their international debut against Egypt, and
naturally, they were a bit slow to settle down. Also, only six players in this
team have more than 20 caps, so it was not a bad result.
"However, Egypt deserve praise as it was a very good match," said Reid.